NY Archdiocese planning parish closures

NEW YORK (AP) — Faced with a priest shortage and dwindling attendance, the Archdiocese of New York is looking to close and merge some parishes.

The Wall Street Journal (http://on.wsj.com/185sDmK ) says the archdiocese is in discussions with its 368 parishes. It expects to deliver recommendations to Cardinal Timothy Dolan by next summer.

The archdiocese closed 21 parishes in 2007. This year, it also closed 24 Catholic schools.

The Rev. John O'Hara, who's leading the church's effort, says the archdiocese has many churches with attendance well below the building's capacity, making them financially unviable. He says the Catholic church would like to spend more money on education programs.

The archdiocese has hired a consultant to help execute its plan.

The archdiocese encompasses Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island and much of Westchester County.

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Information from: The Wall Street Journal, http://www.wsj.com